CAMPAIGN: Lambeth Country Show 2012 may go ahead

Lambeth Country Show
Lambeth Country Show 2011

By Tim Dickens and Zoe Jewell, Editors

The Lambeth Country Show came a step towards being saved tonight after a senior councillor called for it to be reinstated.

In a sign that Lambeth council could be headed for an embarassing u-turn over dumping the annual show, cllr Rachel Heywood, cabinet member for communities and community safety, said the proposal was being “fully reviewed” following the weight of public pressure.

More than 1,100 people have signed a petition, started by the Brixton Blog on Sunday evening, and rumours are growing that the popular free show could now go ahead after the Olympic Games.

Cllr Heywood told the meeting: “I think it’s a bad proposal to cancel it. It is hugely important to Lambeth. The value of the Country Show is considerable.”

“I am working very hard with colleagues to see if we can make it happen. I would like to see you at the County Show this year.”

Rachel Heywood with Chuka Umunna demonstrating her love for Brixton
Rachel Heywood with Chuka Umunna MP

Heywood added that she and her colleagues were “very unhappy” about the decision to cancel the show and called on residents at the meeting to support the Blog’s petition.

“I would advise people to sign it to make sure that public opinion is well recorded,” she said.

Earlier in the evening Lambeth Police borough commander Matt Bell told the Brixton Blog he understood the show was now going ahead later in the year.

He was then asked by cllr Mark Bennett if he had advised the council to cancel the July event.

“It was not on the advice of the police. I’d say yeah it’s a busy time but that’s not a reason to cancel or move it,” Mr Bell told the meeting at Stockwell Resource Centre, Studley Road, Stockwell.

Bennett said: “The press release seemed to suggest that the advice from the police was that the show should be cancelled due to its proximity to the Olympics.”

Council staff close to the show, spoken to by the blog this evening, said they had heard nothing about the potential revised dates. Officers were told on Friday that the fair would not go ahead due to the Olympic Games and the lack of “police and portaloos”.

Cllr Florence Nosegbe, cabinet member for culture, gave a further hint this evening that the council was set to u-turn. She told the Blog: ” No decision has been made to date regarding holding the Country Show on another date. We could do it at another point in the year.”

Nosegbe insisted “the Country Show cannot happen at the usual date because of the equipment, infrastructure and logisitics necessary for the event. The decision has nothing to do with the budget and is supported by the police.”

It is not too late to sign the petition to get the decision debated at a Lambeth council meeting. You can sign it by clicking on the box in the top right hand corner.